LawVest shows £3.2m operating loss in first year

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  • From what I can see the business model is to provide fixed price legal services through solicitors and a barristers chambers. The problem is that people equate fixed price with cut price conveyancing, and expect their divorce to be done for a guaranteed fixed price of say £300. From what I've seen of the fixed prices quoted, by this business, they certainly aren't cheap. This means that they are competing against firms that will cheerfully agree a fixed price as long as it's a realistic one.
    In practice nearly all firms will agree a fixed price for a job once they see what's involved and can price it realistically. So, I see problems with a business model that attracts those who expect low fixed prices when the prices are not low.

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  • A question: Is the £170k turnover the income of Lawvest including the two subsidiaries or not? If it is, that's not much income at all is it? If it isn't including the subsidiaries though, surely it's a meaningless figure as the income of Riverview and the barristers will be the pertinent figure here.
    Am I reading the article wrongly?

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  • £1.2m on marketing!
    That's probably more than the (enormous) marketing team at Dickie Dees spend. Wow.

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  • What a client gets is costs certainty, but fixed cost does not always equal lowest cost.
    If Riverview takes off it will show the value of branding and marketing of a product that you can from almost every traditional firm, style over substance if you like. How they differentiate themselves is to make fixed fee their headline offering, not something to mention if the client baulks at the suggestion of hourly rates.
    Their current start-up burn rate is something an e-commerce business would be proud of.

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  • The website gives some fees indications. For example a divorce case would be taken up to and including the FDR hearing for a fixed fee starting at £23,500 plus VAT. I asked a family lawyer about these fee levels and she said this was over twice what she saw as the average. It is going to take skilled marketing to convince clients that they are getting a much better service than if they shopped around and haggled over fixed fees, particularly as some desperate ex legal aid family lawyers would be prepared to do the work for very little.

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  • I also had a look at their terms and it looks like for the portfolio/retainer work (where fixed fees would be interesting for clients) they have so many exclusions as for the retainer to be meaningless. You'd be outside of it almost straight away.
    If you're going to sell fixed fees, you have to sell on quality or expertise as well. Certainty alone is not enough. Every law firm will give you a fixed fee against a scope. Virtually everything I do is a fixed fee against a scope, so they're not really setting the world on fire here by offering that more expensively...

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